Lowlife: Fanfest 2014 Lowsec ImpactNiden
EVE Online Fanfest 2014 has passed and the collective EVE community is doing its best to make sense of a barrage of information and ideas. While there will be no shortage of analysis of every last syllable and pixel from the event, Lowlife is here to cut the fat and tell you what it all means for lowsec.
I have attempted to gather the relevant information from the live presentations, panels, roundtables and dev blogs, to give you an idea of what lowsec might look like in the near future. Fasten your seatbelts.
The overall theme for the Kronos expansion showcased at Fanfest this year is industry. Every aspect of EVE is affected by this fundamental pillar of the sandbox, lowsec being no exception. As information on the changes trickled in via dev blogs prior to Fanfest it became apparent that lowsec industry was going to be taking a hit, especially in the capital production department. You can read the specifics in last week’s Lowlife.
Other people had also raised this issue in the weeks before Fanfest on various blogs and news sites. Questions were raised if the effect on lowsec had even been considered. When it was brought up at the industry panel of Fanfest CCP Grayscale responded that they had indeed become aware of the issue and are now looking into compensating for it with a lowsec exclusive Component Assembly Array with a healthy buff to its ME modifier.
So nothing final, but we know that awareness has been raised and that CCP are taking it seriously. Lowsec may be producing dreadnoughts and carriers yet, if the changes come to pass.
Lowsec miners are a rare breed indeed, but it looks like this extreme sport may just be enjoying a revival. With the release of Kronos lowsec will be getting some high value ores previously exclusive to highsec (Hedbergite, Hemorphite and Jaspet) as well as some from nullsec (Arkonor and Bistot), via added sites. Whether this will translate into a functioning buff to lowsec income and manufacturing is a matter of debate, but it is certainly a possibility. With the advent of the Prospect advanced mining frigate small scale “covert mining” in lowsec may just be a thing.
As anyone who attended Fanfest or watched the live stream will tell you, one of the hottest new things on the horizon is the new line of Mordu’s Legion pirate faction ships. The sleek new Garmur frigate, Orthrus cruiser and Barghest battleship will be making an appearance as drops from new PvE content exclusive for lowsec.
This translates to a new source of income for lowsec residents as well as attracting players from all over New Eden to visit low security space. The Mordu’s Legion ships are the new black and their unique nature is a perfect fit for lowsec. Local availability should also shake up PvP in the area and if there’s anything lowsecers love it’s finding new and interesting ways to kill each other.
Although FW was not discussed in any of the presentations, and indeed may be untouched by Kronos, all the more was said at the roundtables. CCP stated that they felt that FW had reached its goal of providing small gang PvP content, however it was also admitted that lot could be done to improve the system and it was something that CCP were indeed looking at. However, Iterating on FW is currently hampered by the reworking of legacy code in other, more fundamental aspects of EVE, demanding man hours and focus. This in turn will allow much more flexible adjustment to FW in the long run according to devs.
In other words CCP are saying: have faith and await the second coming, meanwhile have some fast food. What follows is an overview of planned features and discussions held between CCP and Faction Warfare militia present, a roadmap of the immediate future if you will.
Faction Warfare plexes – It is a standing joke within the militias that you can’t have a discussion about FW without plex farmers coming up eventually – the FW roundtable was no different. CCP shares the community’s concern and has elected a solution; the capture point (aka ‘button’) will have a 30km radius decloaking zone and NPC ‘guards’ will spawn continuously on a 90-300 second cycle. Along with timer rollbacks this idea is one of the more popular ones coming out of the lowsec community.
In practise this planned feature makes lazy farming a lot more difficult and will force people to be more on their toes when plexing. The obvious downsides are that sneaking up on farmers using an Astero or stealth bomber will become impossible and those NPC’s will be ruining a lot more solo kills. It also does nothing to address the warp core stabs issue, but many feel that intervening on that level would be stepping over the line. We’ll have to see how this one pans out once it’s eventually rolled out on TQ.
Responding to the demand for more large ship PvP content from the Faction Warfare community CCP will be putting the Large Outposts (FW plexes with no gate) into regular rotation. This opens up a lot more possibilities for fights with battlecruisers and up.
Income – In general CCP feel that FW LP income is in line with the risk vs reward philosophy, lowsec being high risk indeed. However, to discourage cross-faction farming they suggest standings decay based on iHub LP donations or PvP activity for instance, and are actively looking for feedback on these ideas.
CCP are also looking into rebalancing Faction Warfare LP store items with slight improvements, making them more attractive for the market.
Factions – Another proposal CCP put on the table was splitting the faction alliances (Caldari and Amarr for instance) apart. The currently fluctuating state of EVE lore presents a unique opportunity to implement the change into canon. It would open up new fronts of conflict and allow for a lot more dynamic war zones, as well as stave off inter-faction freeloading. It is worth noting that support for the proposal from the attending militia was unanimously in favour. Looks like we want to fight each other and keep the cash. Who knew, right?
General Faction Warfare – The following are topics of interest where CCP and the roundtable attendees discussed possible features based on feedback from the community.
CCP may look into moving militia members to the top of the colour tag priority list as a default setting of the overview in an attempt to reduce unwanted friendly fire. If implemented this would undoubtedly save the life of many a noob.
The idea of smoothing out PvP LP rewards across the tiers was discussed. If implemented this would make LP from PvP a bit more relevant. The FW community has long been asking for better LP rewards for PvP itself, but exploitation concerns have proven difficult to tackle, so the cap for rewards would remain the same.
CCP state that they are aware of the mission imbalance between the militias and the static nature of the missions themselves. There is a bottleneck however as the new content tools needed (part of the legacy code clean-up project currently ongoing) to do it efficiently have not yet been finished.
A search function for LP stores may be added.
Faction Warfare mission NPC’s shooting players of the same faction is a bug, CCP have as of yet been unable (!) to find the source of the problem.
Before Fanfest I had a nagging feeling that lowsec may get the short end of the stick. Thankfully it looks like I was wrong. I daresay I’m carefully optimistic in fact; by all accounts from Fanfest it seems that CCP’s idea of the future of FW is relatively aligned with the community’s thoughts and concerns. With all the changes considered lowsec industry may actually flourish, big and small. The new Mordu’s Legion line will provide both new ships and a needed source of income while the large plexes will pave the way for a new dimension of fighting in FW lowsec. I suspect the only people complaining about what’s to come are the plex farmers, and that sits fine with me.
Acknowledgement: a special thank you goes out to Veskrashen, Julianus Soter and Belezia Khanid for reporting from the roundtables, o7